Explaining Jewish Kosher Dietary Laws

in

The kosher dietary laws of Judaism aren’t that much different from the dietary laws that of the Islamic faith. One source says that kosher isn’t a style of cooking. Any kind of cuisine can be considered as kosher as long as it’s made in accordance to Jewish law. For example, if you’re Jewish, you can still eat various cuisines such as Italian, French, Soul Food, Cajun, or anything else if the food is prepared to the laws of the Jewish faith. To start things out, the kosher dietary laws really don’t restrict what cuisines you can eat. It mainly restricts what you cannot or eat and what you cannot combine. However, it says that traditional Jewish dishes can be considered as non-kosher if they’re not prepared in accordance with the same Jewish law.

Laws of Kashrut

However, there are benefits to following aspects of the Laws of Kashrut. Though the laws say so, they do have health benefits. The laws just say so without giving any reason. It’s just like any other law that we observe whether they’re legal law, religious law, or scientific law. With health, there’s a huge emphasis on sanitation such as preparing vegetables to make sure they’re clear of dirt and bugs which are not considered to be kosher under Kashrut.

From what I had read that many kosher butchers and slaughterhouses are exempt from numerous regulations imposed by the USDA due to the laws regarding kosher slaughter being extremely sanitary. That would attract customers to a kosher butcher. I myself would like to get a piece of meat that I know won’t give me any food poisoning.

From this one website, it explains that it’s pretty easy to keep kosher. It’s fairly simple really, just go get your meat at a kosher butcher shop and go to the market and buy stuff that’s kosher. If you don’t know what’s kosher, there should be someone working at the market that can assist you. Those are two aspects of being kosher that is pretty easy to keep up with. Asides from that, it says that the separation of meat and dairy is the only thing you need to think about.

But most places are not kosher meaning it’ll be pretty difficult to keep kosher when eating at those places. You can still eat various foreign cuisines. But chances are you’re going to have to make them yourself. Keeping kosher, it pretty much limits where you can eat. Of course you can ask them to make a kosher-style meal. But keep in mind many non-kosher places do not know much about the Kashrut. It’ll be pretty difficult to share a meal with someone that’s not of the Jewish faith due to differences in the dietary unless the person is a vegetarian or a vegan.

The rules are as follows:

1. Certain animals may not be eaten at all. This restriction includes the flesh, organs, eggs and milk of the forbidden animals.
2. Of the animals that may be eaten, the birds and mammals must be killed in accordance with Jewish law.
3. All blood must be drained from the meat or broiled out of it before it is eaten.
4. Certain parts of permitted animals may not be eaten.
5. Fruits and vegetables are permitted but must be inspected for bugs
6. Meat (the flesh of birds and mammals) cannot be eaten with dairy. Fish, eggs, fruits, vegetables and grains can be eaten with either meat or dairy. (According to some views, fish may not be eaten with meat).
7. Utensils that have come into contact with meat may not be used with dairy, and vice versa. Utensils that have come into contact with non-kosher food may not be used with kosher food. This applies only where the contact occurred while the food was hot.
8. Grape products made by non-Jews may not be eaten.
9. There are a few other rules that are not universal.

One animal you’re not allowed to eat is the pig. Pork and ham come from pigs. If you’ve just started practicing the Jewish faith, you can kiss some good old favorites goodbye such as the bacon cheeseburger which happens to be a personal favorite of mine. A dish such as that definitely violates the Kashrut mainly because you’re combining meat and dairy. And bacon comes from pigs. So, if you’re Jewish and you eat a bacon cheeseburger, you’ve violated the kosher laws of Kashrut.

Without reason, it explains that any land mammals that do not have cloven hooves nor does it chew its cud are forbidden. It’s specified in the Torah. If you’re a seafood lover and are now practicing the Jewish faith, your options of what you can eat are very much limited to fish because it says things in the water can be consumed as long as they have fins and scales. Which is only fish such as tuna, salmon, hallibut, etc. Meaning you can’t go enjoying lobster, crabs, crayfish, shrimp, or anything else that does not possess fins and scales.

If you take a job such as journalism let alone travel journalism in which it requires you to travel to various exotic destinations, you’re going to have a hard time keeping kosher as well. Because places like Thailand, the diet is still very primitive because they eat reptiles and insects. Rodents are consumed in other parts of Southeast Asia. And in the Torah, eating rodents, reptiles, amphibians, and insects are all forbidden.

When eating meat, it’s forbidden to eat animals that died of natural causes or were killed by other predators. Though it states no reason in the Torah, it’s very understandable. An animal that died of natural causes can possibly carry all sorts of diseases. Same case with animals killed by other animals. Diseases can be carried through either saliva and/or the talons. Meaning you eat that meat, you can transmit those diseases into your own body. In a sense, it makes you “impure.”

Asides from eating kosher, the use of utensils when eating a kosher meal is complexity within itself. Like if you’re eating cheese on one dish and meat on another dish, you have to have two separate forks. Using the same utensils is considered a forbidden combination of various foods.

Though the dietary laws of the Kashrut are pretty complex, especially with the utensils, it happens to be a very healthy way to eat. For health and fitness nuts that are non-Jewish, eating by the kosher laws is pretty much the way to go. It seems to put a huge emphasis on the quality of meats and vegetables making sure they’re free of any impurities.

On a side note, for people that are planning to go into the Jewish faith, be prepared to make a lot of sacrifices.

Sources:
http://www.jewfaq.org/kashrut.htm#Certification

Leave a Comment

Related Posts

Contributions Made by Jewish People

Our world today is a better place due to contributions that have been made by people in all ethnic, religious, and cultural groups. The Jewish people are one of the ... Read More

Reflections on the Torah Yosef and Pharaoh

Some thoughts on the Torah portion Mi-Keytz. The portion begins with the phrase Va-yehi mi-keytz shnosayim yomim u-Far’oh choleym, “And it happened at the end of two years that Pharaoh ... Read More

The Laws of Kashrut Explained

The Jewish dietary laws are known as the laws of Kashrut. These originate from the Torah or the five books of Moses, but some have been elucidated in the Talmud. ... Read More

Reflections on the Torah

Comic, But Not Funny: The One Comic Portion in the Chumash Comedy? In the Chumash? Somehow, we do not think of comedy when we think of Chumash or of the ... Read More

Antisemitism in the US Today

Antisemitism, like any form of prejudice, is alive and ‘well’ in the USA. Being raised Jewish in the 60’s I encountered this disturbing phenomenon first hand. Things have progressed from ... Read More